Oak Grove Cemetery Mausoleum

Update: The former owner, Marilyn Stanza, sold the property in 2016 as part of a settlement with the former attorney general of Missouri, Chris Koster, which also included surrendering her undertaker’s license. Stanza died in 2018. See historic photos of the cemetery and mausoleum from a brochure. Despite many sources describing the architecture of this mausoleum as “Byzantine Revival,” that is not a correct description; it is Beaux-Arts. I also apologize for the extremely low quality of the photographs in this post.

One of the more unique buildings I have ever photographed is the Oak Grove Mausoleum on St. Charles Rock Road.

It’s been in the news recently, mostly for the wrong reasons.

Described as Byzantine Revival in the Landmarks Association’s 2011 Most Endangered List, it is actually Beaux-Arts.

The lion above is a great example of the sculpture at the mausoleum; it is not strictly Neoclassical, but perhaps showing a little influence of Disney.

The front portal is clearly influenced by Michelangelo’s New Sacristy, which you can see here.

The entrance was locked, in response to vandalism and theft from the mausoleum. The interior can be viewed here?from a later visit when I was allowed inside by the former owners.

The windows are beautiful, but are best viewed from the interior where the sunlight would stream through them.

The porte cochere is under the front steps, and would have provided a dry entrance during the rain.

The back is ornamented as well, but is largely hidden from view by tall weeds and a stone wall.

The care of a mausoleum and cemetery is one of the most sensitive jobs in the country, and I can only imagine the expense of maintaining this mausoleum and cemetery.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Melissa (Missy) Stanza Hernandez says:

    I find it sad that Marilyn is always the first thing mentioned in current information about Oak Grove.
    My grandfather Earl Glenn Stanza started Oak Grove with his brother, Dale.
    Marilyn married my uncle Bob late in his life after my aunt Jane Brown had died. My Uncle Bob had taken over as President of OG from my father, Earl G. Stanza, Jr. who ran it after my grandfather died. He was very proud of his family’s accomplishments and good at his job. It was under him that a new addition was added to the building. Marilyn had been a broker and had no interest in OG except for financial gain. She had a son who stripped it of much of its richness and beauty and Marilyn did little to keep it all up. My family was embarrassed and saddened by this.
    I remember the beautifully polished marble floors of the Mausoleum, the large pipe organ, the well manicured grounds, the amazing Chapel which was modeled after Shakespeare’s Church in Stratford upon Avon. The statuary was magnificent, the Oriental rugs all authentic. My father and grandfather spent time in Europe finding items to bring back to adorn OG.
    While this is not the style today, death was accorded great lavishness back then. Oak Grove (and Valhalla across the street) are stunning examples of fine St. Louis architecture

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